Friday, May 11, 2012

A Mother's Day Tribute: A Letter to My Future Daughters-in-Law


Dear Future Daughters-in-Law,

I look forward to encircling you in my arms as a mother as well as welcoming you to our family. I know we are going to be great friends.

But, first, I want you to know to whom you owe a great gift of gratitude. For it was she, at whose slender feet I learned what to do when we, someday, share a last name.

Her name was Louise but I called her Weezie. And, simply stated, she was the best mother-in-law in the world.
Louise, as a young

When I first met her, 30 years ago, in a sunny and beautiful apartment in the Park Slope section of my hometown of Brooklyn, she was wearing faded jeans with holes in the knees and a blue and white striped oxford shirt.

She welcomed me with a big smile and a delicious meal and any anxiety I had about meeting Seth’s mother fell away. I was at home in her company from the day we met and  remained there until she left us--- growing to love her more as the years passed for so many different reasons.

From the minute I walked through her door, I became one of the family. If she may have felt a little put-out by the arrival of another woman in her son’s life, I never saw even the slightest trace of it.

The three of us spent an idyllic summer together in Brooklyn that year and I will never forget the laughter, the relaxed dinners, the political discussions or the sight of Louise standing on one leg, leaning against the doorframe with her head thrown back in laughter.

She was genuinely my friend and I cannot recall a single uncomfortable moment in her presence. How many can say that about an in-law?

Her grandchildren called her “Granny” which is funny because one might be inclined to picture a granny as a bespectacled old lady wearing gray hair in a bun and knitting as she sits in a rocking chair. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Louise was glamorous, beautiful, full of life and energy and the envy of all my boy’s playmates. She would sit on the grass during baseball games and charm all my friends with her ready laugh and smile.

She loved her children and grandchildren passionately and protectively, worried about them, exulted in their accomplishments and was very, very proud of them. And, we—in turn—were very proud of her.

She was a fiercely protective mother, as well. I learned early on never to even hint that Seth might possibly be less than perfect. The look in her eye would change and the temperature in the room would drop a degree or two.

I also used to bow out, after the first few rounds, of the endless political discussions that she and Seth would enjoy for hours. Louise was incredibly well-informed both historically and politically, astute and deductive and I, simply, could not keep up with them.

She was a gracious hostess and a fantastic cook. She played the piano and loved it when we all stood around and sang and could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear when it came to setting and decorating my Thanksgiving table every year. Never being one for crystal or fine china, she would take what I had and put Martha Stewart to shame with the results.

A typical pose.
Louise taught me what it means to be an excellent mother-in-law. My cooking was always delicious, even when it wasn’t. My home always looked beautiful, even when it didn’t and she never, in all the years I knew her, said a disapproving or unpleasant word to me.

I fully intend to pay this gift forward to you, my future daughters-in-laws.

Unfortunately, you will not have the privilege of meeting the originator of this legacy but you will reap the benefits of Louise’s kindness, support and total acceptance.

She and my own mother were great friends. I hope they still get to hang out together although they are no longer seen at my kitchen table, chatting late into the night.

So, future daughters-in-law, while I cannot expect to totally live up to her and will never, ever possess her style, grace or dress size, I will try to live up to her legacy as a good mother-in-law and all that comes with it...and that includes free baby-sitting. You're welcome.

Love and happy Mother's Day to all,
Your future Mother-in-Law, Susan Says...


  1. Susan, this was absolutely beautiful. It honestly made me tear up. What a wonderful gift for your future daughter-in-laws and us as well to read about this wonderful woman and the amazing relationship you had with her.

  2. Alicia, thank you so much for your kind words. She truly was that wonderful. I was a very lucky woman to have such great mothers in my life.

    have a happy Mother's Day yourself, young lady!

  3. lovely post. She was very beautiful wasn't she?! XO

  4. Wonderful post Susan! Your future daughters will certainly reap those rewards.


  5. I wish I could say the same about my mother-in-law but I'm not the right kind of person for her son (or so she believes.) Its really a shame.

  6. I love this, your daughter-in-laws are so lucky!